Playing for Tips

The Wall Street Journal

Hannah Karp, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

Young music fans today don’t buy many CDs or downloads, but the rise of virtual tip jars is evidence some fans are still willing to spend money on novel kinds of interactions with their favorite acts.

Zach Clayton, who is also 16 and a resident of Austin, Texas, said he earned more than $100,000 last year performing on a live-streaming app called YouNow. He is one of a growing number of performers who live on tips and gifts from online fans.


Live-streaming for tips isn’t exactly glamorous work. Brent Morgan, a 29-year-old musician in Huntsville, Ala., broadcasts twice a day on YouNow for a total of three hours a day, playing guitar and other instruments while writing custom jingles on the spot for big tippers. He said he nets between $15,000 and $20,000 a month and plans to release his first album in the next few months.